Dornier Do 22

The Dorniers trace their origins to a French family from the department of Isere.

In 1862, Dauphin Dornier, a language teacher, came to Kempten in Bavaria. Dornier settled there for good, following the 1870-1871 Franco-Prussian War and married a daughter of a local family. On 14 May 1884 their first son, Claude Dornier, was born in Kempten. Claude grew up in his parent’s home and attended a local school, with science being his prime interest. He attended Technische Hochschule (University of Applied Sciences) in Munich and in 1907 Claude Dornier earned his degree in engineering. Shortly after graduating, junior engineer Dornier was employed at Machinenfabrik Nagel (Machine factory Nagel) in Karlsruhe where he worked on strength calculations. After leaving the Machinenfabrik Nagel, Dornier was briefly employed at Eisenwerkes Kaiserslautern (Kaiserslautern Iron works) in Kaiserslautern.

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Claude Dornier joined Luftshiffbau Zeppelin, makers of the famous all-metal rigid airships, in 1910 where his abilities soon attracted Count Zeppelin’s attention. In 1911, he began fundamental research to improve the strength of light sections and metal profiles. In May 1911, he succeeded in proving that the flanges increase the rigidity of aluminum angle sections by performing tests, which considerably influenced the profile of thin, stressed components. At the same time, Dornier was conducting numerous studies into the possibilities of further developing rigid airships.
By 1913, Count Zeppelin had gained such confidence in Claude Dornier’s capabilities that he appointed him as his personal scientific advisor. In close cooperation with the Count, Claude Dornier began preliminary design work on a giant steel structure airship for transatlantic service. The Count soon came to realize that in order to fully exploit Claude Dornier’s potential, he would need to provide him with better facilities.

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Early in 1914, the “Do” Department was established within the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin. The so nicknamed “Carbonium” facility, a small gasworks located on the edge of the existing airship factories, provided Claude Dornier with space for two offices, a small workshop and a test area where he worked with an assistant engineer, several technicians and draftsmen. At his new facility, Claude Dornier continued research into the designs of rigid airships however this did not last long. Motivated by the emergence of a completely new means of lighter than air flight technology, his interests shifted towards airplane engineering.
Almost immediately following the outbreak of World War I on 28 July 1914, Count Zeppelin decided to build airplanes and he established Seemoos facility near Manzell, Germany, for this purpose. The Count gave Claude Dornier the opportunity to use his own design ideas for airplane construction. As a result of increasing airplane construction, new and large facilities for their time were constructed at this location.
Instead of relying on contemporary methods used to date, the Count confident in Claude Dornier’s ingenuity entrusted him with the task of building giant metal flying boats at the new dockyard. This leap of faith laid the cornerstone in the evolution of metal airplanes. In light of the new task Claude Dornier began to evaluate and apply his research. The new problems however, could be solved only through a professional engineering approach based upon strict scientific criteria. The principles he proposed were to guide the entire development of the airplane industry in future decades and implied that all stressed-structure components should be of metal, steel or aluminum, depending upon the stress loads involved. Similarly, sections rolled from sheets and formed in accordance with the performance requirements should be of light metal construction and must carry loads. Finally, components must be attached by rivets or screws.

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